Melbourne:South Africa captain Graeme Smith revealed he and coach Micky Arthur had plotted a three-year plan, the perfect execution of which led to the Proteas' first series win in Australia.
Smith said he and Arthur drew a blue-print soon after returning home from the 2005 series which Australia won 2-0. "Soon after losing 2-0 three years ago, Mickey Arthur and I drew up a three-year plan. We identified what we believed we needed to win in Australia and then identified the players we thought could do the job," said Smith.
"We then backed them and supported them, especially through the lean times," he said.
From an early age, Smith never hid his ambitions. In fact, as a 12-year-old, he stuck a paper to the refrigerator at home which was virtually a list of his ambitions topped by a proclamation that he wanted to captain the South African cricket team.
"Obviously that (leading South Africa) came true five and half years ago, but it was only the beginning of my ambition," Smith said.
"If I was still in the habit of sticking notes on my fridge door, I would have stuck one three years ago and it would simply have said: 'Win in Australia next time'," he wrote in his column for 'The Daily Telegraph'.
Drawing a parallel with the 2005 tour, Smith said, "In our last tour to Australia three years ago I thought it was important to show that we would not be intimidated, on or off the field, and I also wanted to deflect attention away from the younger guys in the team...
"This time we decided to concentrate all our energy on our own game and ignore everything we couldn't control.
Cricketers never worry about the weather, for example, because there is nothing you can do to change it. So any distraction, like the make-up and selection of the Australian team, did not concern us," he said.
"It's fair to say we started talking about this tour almost as soon as we arrived home three years ago. It has always been in the back of our minds, even through this year when we had tours to India and England," he added. Smith, however, believes his mission does not end with the series win and argues it rather starts here.
"The challenge now, as it was with my captaincy, is not to treat the achievement as "mission accomplished" but to use it as the start of a brand new journey, a new era...I can assure you there will be absolutely no sense of anti-climax about the Sydney Test.
"We are all very aware of the prize that awaits us if we can win again and we have all dreamed of being No. 1," he said.